Purchase Links (I do not receive any commission for this):
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Erin La Rosa
Release Date: July 27th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
They go together like water and oil…
All chef Nina Lyon wants is to make a name for herself in the culinary world and inspire young women everywhere to do the same. For too long, she’s been held back and underestimated by the male-dominated sphere of professional kitchens, and she’s had enough. Now, as co-host of the competitive reality TV series The Next Cooking Champ!, she finally has a real shot at being top tier in the foodie scene.
Too bad her co-host happens to be Hollywood’s smarmiest jerk.
Restaurateur Leo O’Donnell never means to get under Nina’s skin. It just seems to happen, especially when the cameras are rolling. It’s part of the anxiety and stress he has come to know all too well in this line of work. So nothing prepares him for the fallout after he takes one joke a smidge too far and Nina up and quits—on live TV.
To make matters worse, the two are caught in what looks like a compromising situation by the paparazzi…and fans of the show go absolutely nuts. Turns out, a “secret romance” between Nina and Leo may just be what their careers need most.
Now all they have to do is play along, without killing each other…and without catching feelings. Easy as artisanal shepherd’s pie. Right?
Thank you to HQN for the eARC!
I didn’t have any wild expectations going in for this and found myself completely wrapped up this story. I wouldn’t call it enemies to lovers, but more a rival angle. There’s fantastic banter that made me laugh and were such great quips. The spark definitely ignited as Leo and Nina got to know one another.
And how did they get to know one another? FAKE DATING Y’ALL. Another beloved trope that I loved the execution of. I thought all of the dates dove deeper into each layer of their budding relationship. I liked how they got to know one another, apologize for past grievances and work together to save their restaurants.
I did find the last 10/15% a little slow. I liked that Leo’s anxiety was addressed and he was able to work on that for himself and that Nina found a new path for her career to move to. I don’t mind some time away, but it did go on just long enough that I was wondering where the grand finale was finally going to take place.
Different from a lot of books recently, this one focused on cooking over baking. I loved that and it made me continually hungry and in need of a personal chef to make some of these grand meals for me. I loved the outside plot that didn’t overtake the romance but helped push it forward. The side characters (family and friends) were wonderful and added a perfect touch too. A seriously great read and I look forward to more!
Overall audience notes:
- Contemporary Romance
- Language: some strong
- Romance: multiple open; med/high explicit
- Trigger/Content Warnings: anxiety, panic attacks (on page), sexism, bullying (including cyber)
ERIN LA ROSA is a writer living in Los Angeles. As a writer for BuzzFeed, she frequently writes about the perils and triumphs of being a redhead. Before BuzzFeed, Erin worked for the comedy websites Funny or Die and MadAtoms, as well as E!s Fashion Police, Wetpaint, and Ecorazzi. Erin has appeared on CNN, Headline News, Jimmy Kimmel, and The Today Show on behalf of BuzzFeed. She is the author of Womanskills and The Big Redhead Book.
Author Website: https://www.erinlarosacreative.com/
And for fun, some recipes from the chef’s themselves!